O'Brien 'seriously considering' running Camelot in Arc
RACING:THE COMPLEXION of the €4 million Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe could alter dramatically again between now and off-time on Sunday but while neither the German superstar Danedream, nor the top English hope Nathaniel, will be at Longchamp, the chances of Camelot taking his chance in Europe’s most prestigious race now appear to be increasing.
Aidan O’Brien last evening indicated he is “seriously considering” running both the triple-Classic winner and St Nicholas Abbey in the Arc after a tumultuous day that robbed the big race of two of its biggest stars.
Not long after confirmation came that Danedream would be unable to travel and defend her Arc title came news yesterday that Nathaniel was ruled out due to running a temperature at John Gosden’s Newmarket base.
Coming on the back of Snow Fairy’s defection at the weekend, the shape of the 2012 Arc has changed dramatically and O’Brien’s Ballydoyle team appear willing to try and take advantage.
“Obviously we’re looking at it (the Arc) very strongly with the two big horses, Camelot and St Nicholas Abbey,” O’Brien told RTE Radio.
“Both of them are doing a little bit in the morning and if they come through that well, I think everybody will sit down and have a chat about it tomorrow afternoon and we’ll see what we’re going to do.
“It would be great if both of them ran but obviously they have to be well and they have to go through all their tests tomorrow and pass all those things before they get the all clear, but we’d be looking forward to it if that could happen.”
A green light for Camelot is likely to mean the Irish star will challenge the Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre for ante-post favouritism.
Nathaniel was left among the 18 entries left in the race yesterday morning but news of his absence came quickly afterwards. “He spiked a temperature this morning. Blood tests were taken immediately and his blood was found to not be right,” John Gosden reported.
As for Danedrean, the outbreak of swamp-fever at her Cologne base finally scuppered any chance of travelling to Paris.
As well as Camelot and St Nicholas Abbey, O’Brien left in Imperial Monarch, as well as a couple of pace-makers in Robin Hood and Ernest Hemingway.
However, the shape of what is turning into an unpredictable Arc build-up could alter again tomorrow when a supplementary stage is set to see French Derby and Prix Niel winner Saonois added at a cost of €100,000.
France’s top staying prize, the Prix Du Cadran, provided John Oxx with his last Group One success and the Curragh trainer will hope this Sunday’s renewal will be good to him again when Saddlers Rock lines up.
Oxx plans to mount a double-Group One challenge on Sunday’s spectacular Longchamp card as Manieree is also due to contest the Prix de l’Opera over a mile and a quarter. “Saddlers Rock in the Cadran and Manieree in the Opera will go to France,” a stable spokesperson said yesterday, while also confirming Hasariya will miss out on the Prix Marcel Boussac.
Arc day has been good to the Oxx team over the years with Namid’s success in the Prix de l’Abbaye of 2000 preceding Sinndar’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe win. In 2009 Sea The Stars’ landmark Arc was followed just over an hour later by a thrilling Cadran victory for Alandi.
Saddlers Rock is on something of a recovery mission having finished well out of the money in the Lonsdale at York before running better behind Times Up in the Doncaster Cup. The mud-loving Manieree was a Group Two winner last year in the Blandford Stakes but has twice finished behind Up in her two starts to date in 2012.
An unfavourable overnight weather forecast means Sligo will hold an 8am inspection today.